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But we must not be so much dazzled with his surpassing glory or with his magnanimous, his amiable qualities, as to forget the decision of his impartial countryman :
HE WAS JUSTLY SLAIN. †
Our senses narrow, and our reason frail. «.... omnes pene veteres; qui nihil cognosci, nihil percepti, nihil sciri posse dixerunt; angustos sensus; imbecillos animos, brevia curricula vitæ; in profundo veritatem demersam; opinionibus et institutis omnia teneri; nihil veritati relinqui : deinceps omnia tenebris circumfusa esse dixerunt, » * The eighteen hundred years which have elapsed since Cicero wrote this, have not removed any of the imperfections of humanity: and the complaints of the ancient philosophers may, without injustice of affectation, be trans- . cribed in a poem written yesterday,
Stanza XCIX. There is a stern round tower of other days. ! Alluding to the tomb of Cecilia Metella, called Capo di Bove,
in the Appian Way. See-Historical Illustrations of the Iyth Canto of Childe Harold,
· Prophetic of the doom
Rich. Franc. Phil. Brunck. Poetæ Gnomici. p. 231; edit. 1984.
T «Jure cosus existimetur, » says Suetonius after a fair estimation of his character, and making use of a phrase which was a formula in Livy's time. « Melium jure cæsum pronuntiavit, etiam si regni crimine insons fuerit : » [lib, iv. cap. 48.] and which was continued in the legal judgment pronounced in justifiable homicides, such a killing housebreakers. See Sueton. in vit. C. J. Cæsar, with the commentary of Pitiscus, p. 184.
* Academ, 1. 13.
The author of the Life of Cicero, speaking of the opinion enterlained of Britain by that orator and his colemporary Romans, has the following eloquent passage : « From their railleries of this kind, on the barharity and misery of our island, one cannot help reflecting on the surprising fale and revolutions of kingdoms , how Rome, once the mistress of the world, the seat of arts, empire and glory, now lies sunk in sloth, ignorance and poverty, enslaved to the most cruel as well as to the most contemptible of tyrants, superstition and religious imposture: while this remote country, anciently the jest and contempt of the polite Romans, is become the happy seat of liberty, plenty and letters ; flourishing in all the arts and refinements of civil life; yet running perhaps the same course which Rome itself had run before it, from virtuous industry to wealth; from wealth to luxury; from luxury to an impatience of discipline, and corruption of morals: till by a total degeneracy and loss of virtue, being grown ripe for destruction, its fall a prey at last to some hardy oppressor, and, with the loss of liberty, losing every thing that is valuable, sinks gradually again its original barbarism. » *
And apostolic statues climb. To crush the imperial urn, whose ashes slept sublime. The column of Trajan is surmounted hy St. Peter; that of Aurelius by St. Paul. See-Historical Illustrations of the IVth Canlo, elc.
* The History of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, sect. vi. vol. ii. p. 102. The contrast has been reversed in a lale extraordinary instance. A gentleman was thrown into prison at Paris; efforts were made for his release. The French minister continued to detain him, under the pretext that he was not an Englishman but only a Roman. See « Interesting facts relating to Joachim Murat. » pag. 139.
Still we Trajan's name adore. Trajan was proverbially the best of the Roman princes : † and it would be easier to find a sovereign uniting exactly the opposite characteristics, than one possessed of all the happy qualities ascribed to this emperor. « When he mounted the throne , » says the historian Dion D « he was strong in body, he was vigorous in mind; age had impaired none of his faculties; lie was altogether free from envy and from detraction ; he honored all the good and he advanced them; and on this account they could not be the objects of his fear, or of his hate ; he never listened to informers ; he gave not way to his anger he abstained equally from unfair exactions and unjust punishments; he had rather be loved as a man than honoured as a sovereign ; he was affable with his people, respectful to the senate, and universally beloved by both; he inspired none with dread but the enemies of his country. »
Rienzi , last of Romans. The name and exploits of Rienzi must be familiar to the reader of Gibbon. Sume delails and in-edited manuscripts relative to this unhappy hero , will be seen in the Illustrations of the IVth Canto.
† « Hujus tantùm memoriæ delatum est ut, usque ad nos : tram ælalem non aliter in Senatu principibus acclamatur, nisi, FELICIOR. AVGVSTO. MELIOR. TRAJANO. » Eutrop. Brev. Hist. Rom lib. viii. cap.. V.
5 Τα τε γας σώματι έρρωτο......... και τη ψυχή ήκμαζεν, ως μήθ' υπό γήρως αμβλύνεσθαι ... και ουτ' εφθάνει, όυτε κατήρει τινα, αλλα και πάνυ πάντας τους αγατους επίμα και εμαγάλυνε και δια τούτο ούτε έφος είτό τινα, αυτών, όυτε εμίσει... διαβολαίς τε ήκιστα επίστευε και οργή ήκιστα έδoυλoύτο' τών τε χρημάτων των αλλωτρίων ίσα και φόνων των αδίκων ασέικεχετο..... φιλούμενός τε ούν επ' αυτοϊς μάλλον ή τιμώμενος έχαιρε , και τα τε δήμω. μετ' επιεικέιας συνεγίνετο, και τη γηρουσία σεμνοπρεπώς ωμίλει αγαπητός μεν πάσι· φοβερός δε μηδενί, πλην πολεμίοις ών. Ηist. Rom. lib. Ixiii. Cap. vi. et vii. tom. ii. p. 123, 1124 , edit. Hamb. 175ο.
be collected from the satirist but that somewhere near Porta Capena was a spot in which it was supposed Numa held nightly consultations with his nymph, and where there was a grove and à sacred fountain, and fanes once consecrated to the Muses; and that from this spot there was a descent into the valley of Ægeria, where were several artificial caves. It is clear that the statues of the Muses made no part of the decoration which the satirist thought misplaced in these caves; for he expressly assigns other fanes (delabra ) to these divinities above the valley, and moreover tells us that they had been ejected to make room for the Jews. In fact the little temple, now called that of Bacchus, was formerly thought to belong to the Muses, and Nardini * places them in a poplar grove, which was in his time above the valley.
It is probable, from the inscription and position, that the cave now shown may be one of the « artificial caverns, » of which, indeed, there is another a little way higher up the valley, under a tuft of alder bushes : but a single grotto of Ægeria is a mere modern invention, grafted upon the application of the epithet Egerian to these nymphea in general, and which might send us to look for the haunts of Numa upon the banks of the Thames.
Our English Juvenal was not seduced into mistranslation by his acquainlance with Pope: 'he carefully preserves the correct plural
« Thence slowly winding down the vale, we view
The Egerian grots; oh, how unlike the true! » The valley abounds with springs, † and over these springs, which the Muses might haunt from their neighbouring groves, Ægeria presided : hence she was said to supply them with waters; and she was the nymph of the grottos through which the fountains were taught to flow.
Dissimiles veris, quanto præstantius esset
Sat. III. * Lib. iii, cap. iii.
* « Undique e solo aquæ scaturiunt. »
Nardini, lib. iii. cap. iii,
The whole of the monuments iņ the vicinity of the Egerian valley have received names at will, which have been changed at will. Venuti * owns he can see no traces of the temples of Jove , Saturn, Juno , Venus , and Diana , which Nardini found , or hoped to find. The mutatorium of Caradalla's circus, the temple of Honour and Virtue , the temple of Bacchus, and above all, the temple of the god Rediculus , are the antiquaries' despair.
The circus of Caracalla depends on a medal of that emperor cited by Fulvius Ursinus, of which the reverse shows circus supposed , however, by some to represent the Circus Maximus. It gives a very good idea of that place of exercise. The soil has been but little raised , if we may judge from the smaļl cellular structure at the end of the Spina ; which was probably the chapel of the god Consus. This cell is half beneath the soil, as it must have been in the circus itself , for Dionysius * could not be persuaded to believe that this divinty was the Roman Neptune , because his altar was underground,
Yet let us ponder boldly; « At all events , » says the author of the Academical Questions, « I trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess. The free and philosophic spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Englishmen and the luminous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors , to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old prejudices ? This is not the way to defend ihe cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the outworks for a short space of time while reason slumbers in the citadel: bnt if the latter sink into a lethargy, the former will quickly erect a standard , for herself. Philosophy , wisdom, and liberty, support
* Echinard, etc. Cic. cit. pag. 297-298 † Antiq. Rom, lib. ii, cap. xxxi,